I hear you talk a lot about defiance on this corner of the blogosphere, and when I think defiance, I think standing against what’s wrong (a visual being putting on the armor of God), and shoving God’s goodness in the face of brokenness.
With that in mind, I want to make two short connections. First, let me encourage your heart with thoughts on Isaiah 61:7.
The words of the Lord: “Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs.”
This is why I love the prophets. This hope. This spoken truth: the shame that is universally experienced in the curse of our sinful nature is promised to be taken away in Christ. More so (there is always a more so, isn’t there? A beyond-our-expectations goodness that God pours out on us), we are promised a double portion.
To fully understand the depth of this radical promise, take a moment and dwell on an area of shame in your life . . . we all have those areas. A weight of shame sinks deep and carries the lie that what was done to us or by us has so dirtied us that we have lost worthiness.
Now consider Jesus, stretching his arms wide and publicly enduring the humiliation of the cross, bearing the crushing weight of my sin, your sin, the world’s sin, and then throwing off the chains of death and rising from the grave. That’s grace. That’s salvation. That’s defiance of death and sin.
And that’s enough for us, isn’t it? To be snatched from hell’s jaws and promised eternal life in heaven?
That’s not enough, God says. He goes beyond what’s enough to what is abundant. He offers restoration of brokenness. Plenty where there is lack. Joy where there was sorrow. And worthiness where there is shame. This is the double portion. This is scandalous grace.
This is an in-your-face defiance of the enemy of our souls. Not only does God redeem us by crushing the serpent’s head. He blesses us with every spiritual blessing through Christ so that “those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame” (Psalm 34:5).
We have a defiant God. A Father that seeks to not only stand down evil, but fully rebel against the effects of sin in this world—His created world.
What does Isaiah 61:7 mean for me as a storyteller? It means every story I tell has a portion of shame and an aspect of redemption. Every story sets forth the battle that we live every day between flesh and Spirit, between lies and Truth.
In my upcoming release, Such a Hope, this shame/redemption dance takes place on the heart of a hero who’s turned his back on the God he believes let him down. If you want to know what defiance looks like in an unredeemed, worldly way, you need only look to Tristan, the hardhearted one, the one who’s rebelled against hope.
For a godly image of defiance, I present to you Anna, the tenderhearted heroine with the gift of healing. Despite being questioned and held in suspicion by her community, she refuses to back down from her faith in the God that heals. But it’s not without fear, for she’s not your usual stubborn, bold heroine.
Here’s a glimpse of the cover and a blurb:
Anna Warren grew up on the seat of a wagon, the daughter of Seattle’s busiest freighter. After her father’s death—a tragedy away from home—she returns to their cabin on the outskirts of Seattle, seeking the sense of belonging that eluded her childhood. But will her desire to pray for miraculous healing for the sick and wounded endear or alienate her to the community? Her most aggravating challenger is also her staunchest defender and has brown hair and eyes, stands six feet tall, and farms with unchecked tenacity. Tristan Porter. This farmer her father had befriended holds more secrets than Yesler’s Mill holds logs.
When ugly rumors arise about her spiritual gift and her property, Anna fears her quest to find belonging will be thwarted.
Tristan holds the truth to set her free, but revealing it will require him to face the disappointments of his past and surrender his plans for the future—a sacrifice he’s not sure he can make.
I want to invite you along on a journey of storytelling—and storylistening—with me. My desire is to not only tell stories that entertain but that nourish the soul. Let’s draw closer to Jesus together. I look forward to meeting you along the journey.
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